Date lodged: 1 November 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to reduce the reoffending rate among people leaving prison.
Answered by: Michael Matheson 9 November 2017
Firstly, we are working to reduce the use of short prison sentences, which we know provide little opportunity to rehabilitate people, or reduce the likelihood of their reoffending. Indeed, when short sentences disrupt an individual’s housing, employment, or positive family relationships, they can do more harm than good.
Reducing the churn of short term sentences will also increase the opportunity for the prison authorities to work with prisoners to address their problems, and help them rehabilitate themselves.
There are a range of services which work to help people leaving prison to reintegrate effectively – including the SPS’ Throughcare Support Service; the third sector Offender Mentoring services which this government has helped establish; and Criminal Justice Social Workers supervising individuals released after long sentences.
And we know that it will take more than justice services to support the needs of people leaving prison. That’s why we are working with Justice stakeholders and a range of public and third sector services – including housing, healthcare and welfare – to help remove barriers that might prevent people leaving prison from making a new start.